Compliance (2012)

I do a little writing for another site, www.dvdfile.com.  Mostly, I end up writing reviews for bad B horror movies, or direct-to-DVD films.  On this blog, I’ve written a lot of reviews of older movies that hadn’t just been released.  Older is a relative term I guess.  I just did Argo.  It’s less than a year old.  My friend Travis recently told me about this movie, and after doing a little reading about it, I had to check it out.  If you read my Argo review, you know that I love “Based on a True Story” movies.  This is one of those movies, although a very different type.  I knew going into it, watching this film would be an experience all it’s own.  This was an indie film, so if you’ve never heard of Compliance, don’t feel bad.  I’m sure most people haven’t.  It was shown at Sundance in 2012, and was met with much controversy during the Q&A portion, which I can imagine after seeing it.

A prank phone call is made to a local fast food restaurant.  The man on the phone impersonates a police officer and tells the manager on duty, Sandra (Ann Dowd), that one of the female employees, Becky,  played by Dreama Walker, is stealing from customers and needs to be detained.  The man on the phone gets the store manager to perform a strip search on Walker instead of the police coming and taking her to jail.  Throughout the day, Becky remains nude, is forced to do jumping jacks and even performs sex acts on Sandra’s fiancée.

It’s a tough watch.  If, like me, you’re thinking the whole time that this really happened to some poor teenage girl.  On the one hand, its horrific and how could anyone do this to another person?  I guess there will always be evil in the world.  On the other hand, why would anyone listen to a police officer who tells them to strip over the phone?  That makes no sense whatsoever.  But I can’t speak on it without being in that situation.  Who knows what I would have done when I was 18.  But then again, no one wants to see me naked now, why would they when I was 18?  Thank goodness someone was smart enough to finally say no.  It only took all day.  Who knows how far this lunatic would have gone.

The movie is a little slow, even though its only an hour and a half.  The plot doesn’t leave much room for action.  I thought it was well done with a very sensitive subject.  If you want to bring light to a horrible subject, there are worse ways to do it.  The man who was charged with this crime was acquitted.  Which means he may do it again.  Or there may be copycats.  Maybe corporations will do a better job in the future of teaching their management of how to act in these situations.  But according to the movie there were 70 situations like this over 30 states.  Who’s to say this won’t happen again.

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